Quebecers are returning home as the province goes on the offensive against a record wildfire season, but elsewhere gusty winds are fuelling a huge blaze in northeastern British Columbia. Here’s a look at developments Monday:
Worst wildfire season of the 21st century: Blair
Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says 431 wildfires are burning across Canada and more than 200 are out of control.
More than 47,000 square kilometres have burned so far this year.
Blair says it marks Canada’s worst wildfire seasons of the 21st century.
About 5,000 firefighting personnel are deployed and hundreds more from Chile, Costa Rica, Spain and Portugal are to arrive in the coming days.
Visas extended for people affected by wildfires
Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says some work and student visas will get extensions if people have been affected by wildfires.
Fraser says Ottawa wants to make sure these disasters don’t displace people who are on a specific kind of work or study permit.
Ottawa also plans to replace – for free – passports, permanent residency cards, citizenship documents and other travel documents that may have been destroyed by flames.
Many Quebec fire evacuees heading home
Thousands of Quebecers who were forced from their homes by out-of-control wildfires are starting to return home as the situation improves.
Premier Francois Legault says there should be fewer than 4,000 evacuees remaining by the end of the day, down from a peak of more than 13,500 Friday.
Legault says there are now more than 1,200 people fighting fires across the province, including reinforcements from New Brunswick and France.
Quebec has been having a record wildfire season with 449 fires to date, including 130 currently burning.
Winds fan northeast B.C. wildfire
Gusty winds have kicked up a huge wildfire in northeastern British Columbia, forcing evacuation orders for remote properties outside Fort Nelson.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says more than 140 people are working to contain the lightning-caused Donnie Creek blaze and the 4,049-square-kilometre fire is now the second-largest ever recorded in the province.
But the fire service says the winds responsible for increasing that blaze have also aided firefighters battling a fire south of Fort St. John that prompted an evacuation of Tumbler Ridge.
Gusts kept the nearly 200-square-kilometre West Kiskatinaw River fire away from the threatened community of 2,400, although the evacuation order remains posted.
More than 80 wildfires are burning around B.C., including a stubborn fire in steep terrain above Highway 4 on Vancouver Island, forcing the continued closure of the main route to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.
A convoy of supply trucks carried gas, food and other items into the region Sunday over the rough, four-hour detour that has provided essential access to the Island’s west coast since the human-caused wildfire began.
Number of active wildfires increases in northern Ontario
The number of active wildfires in northern Ontario continues to grow.
There are 68 active wildfires in northern Ontario today including 28 in the northeast and 39 in the northwest.
There were 62 active wildfires yesterday.
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources says there is heavy smoke across the northeast due to fires in the province and in Quebec, with the smoke travelling as far north as Timmins and south past Sudbury.
Nova Scotia firefighters using helicopters to locate hot spots
Nova Scotia firefighters are using helicopters to scan a massive wildfire that’s still out of control in Shelburne County to find the best spots to battle the blaze.
Officials with the province’s Department of Natural Resources will be flying over the fire in southwest Nova Scotia this week and using infrared scanners to detect areas where firefighters should be dispatched.
The 235-square-kilometre Barrington Lake wildfire in Shelburne County is no longer growing but is still classified as out of control.
The wildfire has forced more than 6,000 people from their homes and destroyed 60 houses and cottages, as well as 150 other structures.
The province says there are 139 firefighters from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and the United States fighting the flames.
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